Maple Walnut Crunch Cake

Not ‘coming soon’ any longer.  I’m here, and today I have the most amazing Maple Walnut Crunch Cake for you.

Okay, a little disclosure. It is now 2019 and this was my first post back in 2008, except all it said was:

Not ‘coming soon’ any longer.  I’m here, Check out my new post. 🙂

This has bugged me a little, for a long time, because it was a post with one sentence! Since I’m sentimental, I didn’t want to delete it, so I decided to fill it up with a recipe. I made the cake in the pictures in the late 90’s or early millennium  (I can’t remember which year exactly), and I still make it to this day because it’s so amazing! BUT, the photos are also from the late 90’s or early millennium using a disposable camera, and my cake skills back then left a lot to be desired! But it fits this first post perfectly.

MOIST and delicious Maple Walnut Crunch Cake with two maple frosting options and two crunch layers baked into both cake layers! I've never had a maple cake with as much maple flavor as this one! #maplecrunch #maple #maplecake #maplewalnut #walnut #cake #candiedwalnuts

All that being said, what makes this cake special is not only the amount of maple flavor, which I’ve never found in any maple cakes I’ve tried, but both layers have a walnut-maple-graham cracker crunch that bakes beneath the batter and becomes the top of the layer. I was inspired by THIS CAKE to add the crunch layer, and it worked out mighty fine, if I do say so myself.

MOIST and delicious Maple Walnut Crunch Cake with two maple frosting options and two crunch layers baked into both cake layers! I've never had a maple cake with as much maple flavor as this one! #maplecrunch #maple #maplecake #maplewalnut #walnut #cake #candiedwalnuts

As for the frosting, I gave you two maple frosting options because the first one takes a little time. It’s a roux-based maple buttercream that is not only delicious, but silky silky silky!! The second one is a basic confectioner’s sugar buttercream with maple, that is also delicious, but takes less time to prepare.

All in all, this cake conjures up Winter to me. I suppose it’s due to Maple Sugaring season being right around the corner (Remember, it’s January, 2019, not May, 2008), and I can’t help thinking of all the tapped trees in places around New England, and of course, our neighbors to the North, Canada. BUT, this cake is great anytime of the year (even though I can’t stop thinking about sitting in front of a roaring fire on a snowy day, with a cup of tea or cocoa, and a slice THIS AWESOME MAPLE WALNUT CRUNCH CAKE).

Finally, you can decorate, or NOT decorate this cake however you please. Just cake and one of the frostings is perfection; I just tend to get a little ‘froo-froo’ with cakes. In the directions and notes I tell you everything I did.


MOIST and delicious Maple Walnut Crunch Cake with two maple frosting options and two crunch layers baked into both cake layers! I've never had a maple cake with as much maple flavor as this one! #maplecrunch #maple #maplecake #maplewalnut #walnut #cake #candiedwalnuts

Worst photo EVER, albeit not as bad as THESE! And those were many years after this cake! SAD!

Maple Walnut Crunch Cake

Maple Walnut Crunch Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 12 servings
Cake batter adapted from Country Living
Buttercream slightly adapted from Good Housekeeping
Crunch Layer
  • 1 cup chopped honey graham crackers
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup maple sugar *
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 4oz) unsalted butter
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick, 2 oz) butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (use maple sugar instead, if you make it). See notes.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract or flavoring**
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup toasted, very finely chopped walnuts (almost ground, but not ground--optional since you have a walnut crunch layer)
Roux Based Maple Buttercream
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup (2 sticks-8oz) butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon maple extract or flavoring**
  • pinch of salt
ALTERNATIVE Quick Maple Frosting
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract or flavoring **
  • pinch of saltt
  • Maple Candied Walnuts (half of this recipe), for decoration, if desired ***
  1. Grease or Spray two 9-inch cake pans with a neutral oil, then lay a circle of parchment paper over the oil and grease or spray the paper lightly. You don't need to use parchment circles, but it helps the cake come out cleanly after baked. If you don't use it, lightly flour the pan after greasing it.
Make the Crunch Layer
  1. In the bowl of a food processor pulse graham crackers and toasted walnuts until coarsely ground. Add maple (or brown) sugar and butter; then pulse to combine. (Can also be done with a pastry cutter or knife on a cutting board, then add to a bowl with butter and sugar and mix).
  2. Divide the crunch layer evenly between the two pans, spreading it so it covers the whole bottom each pan, then pressing it down firmly and evenly, as you would a graham cracker crust for cheesecake or pies.
Make the Cake Batter
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large bowl using a mixer set on high speed, or a large bowl using electric beaters, beat the butter, oil and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until each egg is incorporated before adding the other one and doing the same. Reduce the mixer speed to low and drizzle in 1 cup maple syrup, then add vanilla and/or maple extracts. Beat on medium-high for 30 seconds. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk and ending with the flour mixture. Gently fold in the walnuts if using.
Bake the Cake
  1. Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until a tester inserted into the center of each cake layer comes out clean -- about 30 minutes. Cool in the cake pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then using a knife, loosen the cake layers from the sides of the pans and invert the layers onto the wire rack to cool completely., the crunch side up. When cool, if the underside of the cake (the side without the crunch layer) is domed in any way, trim off the hump since you want the cakes flat
Make the Roux Based Maple Buttercream
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the all-purpose flour and sugar until combined Slowly whisk in milk and pure maple syrup until uniform and smooth. Cook over medium-high, whisking, until the mixture thickens and starts to boil. Reduce the eat to low and cook about 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Take off heat and scrape into a medium bowl using a rubber spatula, and cool completely (I place it in the fridge once it hits room temperature).
  2. When the mixture is completely cool, place the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl (if using electric beaters). With the mixer at medium speed, beat butter until creamy. and fluffy. While beating, gradually beat in cooled milk mixture. Beat in the maple and/or vanilla extract and the pinch of salt. Increase mixer or beater speed to medium-high and beat until smooth with an easy spreading consistency.
Make the ALTERNATIVE quick Maple Frosting
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl with electric beaters, beat the butter until creamy and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low and add in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, and beat until combined. Turned the mixer to high and beat until fluffy. Turn the mixer back to low and slowly drizzle in the maple syrup, then beat on high again until it's uniform. Beat in the maple or vanilla extract and pinch of salt.
Assemble the Cake
  1. On a cake plate or cake urntable, with strips of waxed or parchment lining the sides but not the middle, place one layer of the cake, crunch side up.
  2. Place 1 cup of the Maple Buttercream or Quick Maple Frosting Frosting on top of the crunch layer and spread evenly. Place the second layer, crunch side up, on the first and cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream or frosting (or leave the crunch layer un-frosted since it's pretty) If desired, pipe rosettes around the top of the cake with any extra frosting. Place a candied walnut in each rosette. Remove wax or parchment paper and serve. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  3. AS I mentioned in the crunch ingredients, above, I make extra crunch filling without the butter; just the toasted walnuts, sugar and graham crackers, then press some of it around the sides of the cake, but that's entirely up to you. 🙂
* In a pinch, you can substitute brown sugar, but you can also combine a little less than ½ cup granulated sugar with about 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup to make a full ½ cup, or make maple sugar from scratch!
** If you cannot find maple extract, use all vanilla extract.
*** I made the full candied walnut recipe, then ground up what I didn't use to top the cake, and pressed into the frosting, sides and top. Of course you don't have to do this.

MOIST and delicious Maple Walnut Crunch Cake with two maple frosting oprions! I've never had a cake with so much maple flavor! It's perfection!


MOIST and delicious Maple Walnut Crunch Cake with two maple frosting options and two crunch layers baked into both cake layers! I've never had a maple cake with as much maple flavor as this one! #maplecrunch #maple #maplecake #maplewalnut #walnut #cake #candiedwalnuts


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9 Responses to Maple Walnut Crunch Cake

  1. Ling says:

    Hi Lisa Michelle! Thought I’d drop you a line to say hello since I found out you are starting your own blog! Thanks again for your version of the cc recipe…I will try your advice and do the 1 cup brown and 1/2 white! The original recipe that you came up with has won alot of nice comments ! Keep up the awesome baking!

  2. jen says:

    i found you lisa, oh blessed converter of the levain recipe 🙂

    lets trade links to our blogs. link to me 🙂
    and i’ll do the same

    btw my main (not food) blog is wordpress so if you need any help, i’m your girl

  3. lisamichele says:

    Thanks, Ling! That was so sweet of you to ‘christen’ my blog with my first comment. I’ll definitely be posting the Levain recipe with different attempts to make it even better. I’m really going to dig deep here, since this is my blog.
    Now..if I could only figure out a way to make this page prettier!

  4. lisamichele says:

    I linked you to me, all by myself. Damn, I’m so proud it didn’t take me 3 hours to figure out

  5. Dawnie says:

    Hi Lisa! Thank you for this recipe. Thought I’d dive right in – made your CC Levains, 5 dozen of them tonight! Awesome. All for year-end school sharing, and I sure am proud to send them in! I used 3 1/2 cups of flour (for me, by wt: 1lb 2.5 oz). Everything just as you said, I made my baking time 22 minutes at 350 to get that nice golden color on the top.

    Question: next up, I want to try your Dark Choc PB Chip. I do have dutch cocoa that is just itching to be used! Would I use 1/4 cup or a 1/2 cup of it? I am making these for hubby – being a good sport and coming with me to “Sex and the City” this weekend! I want to get this cookie right on the first go around! Thanks, Lisa!

  6. lisamichele says:


    I’m so glad they worked out so well for you. I also have the recipes posted in this blog, along with every detail about how I got there. It’s the second post after the lasagna.

    As for the DC Peanut butter chip cookie, if you LOVE a super, deep rich chocolate flavor, use the half cup. If not, use the 1/4 cup. OR, you could forgo the dutch process, and use 1/2 cup regular baking cocoa, which isn’t as rich, adding 1/4 tsp of baking powder to the recipe. However, since your DP is dying to be used, I’d go with it, and just decrease it to 1/4 cup to be safe (adding 1/4 cup flour), and if it isn’t ‘chocolatey’ enough for you, use 1/2 cup in your next batch. Better edible the first time, just in case ‘too rich’ is hard to eat!

    BTW, I’ll be seeing SATC too! I can’t wait! I was addicted to that show.

    That said, let me know how the dark chocolate cookies turn out for you!

  7. Debbie says:

    OMG!!! I am one of the lucky ones who got to actually taste Lisa’s cookies. They are the best I have ever had. I am so proud of u Lisa. You are totally amazing.

  8. Melissa says:


  9. Pingback: Chocolate - Amaretti Cake , and an Update - parsley sage sweetparsley sage sweet

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